In Memory: LaVonne Graese (July 27, 1928 - January 15, 2016)

Her memory will live on for generations through the lives of all those she has touched and continues to touch through the services her generosity made possible.

On January 15, LaVonne Graese, longtime supporter of Orlando Health, passed away. Her memory will live on for generations through the lives of all those she has touched and continues to touch through the services her generosity made possible. 

In 2000 Lavonne and her family established the Clifford E. Graese Community Health Library in the McCormick Building directly across from and convenient to Orlando Regional Medical Center. Its purpose is to help patients, family members, healthcare professionals and community members find a depth and breadth of material in print and electronic sources to help them understand medical challenges, diseases and treatment options available. Professional librarians staff the library where materials are available in person, by electronic access or can even be delivered directly to a patient’s hospital room.

The Library was the dream of LaVonne’s husband Clifford. After being diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, Clifford and his family saw the need for a resource center on the hospital campus where patients and their families could go to find information about their conditions. At that time in the early 1990s, very little information about Clifford’s disease was available. He and LaVonne made the decision to make this possible through a major gift to establish the Community Health Library. 

What began as books and resources in one location has evolved today into a network of electronic resources available throughout Orlando Health locations. Not only patients and family members, but also medical residents and physicians are able to access the latest information through this collection.  Today, Clifford and LaVonne’s vision has expanded from a single physical space into a virtual one, where patients throughout Orlando Health’s facilities can access resources. Many patients and families at UF Health Cancer Center – Orlando Health, the Hubbard House and the Cynthia C. & William E. Perry Pavilion make use of these resources to better understand their medical situations.

The Graese Family’s support for Orlando Health predates the Graese Library. Clifford and LaVonne became donors of Orlando Health in 1988, when they supported several projects including the Hubbard House. Their involvement with our mission and enhancing the care our patients receive encouraged them to launch this major initiative.

Sixteen years later, Clifford and LaVonne’s vision continues to grow through their family’s continued support. The Graese Library helps generation after generation of patients and their families find much-needed information. LaVonne and Clifford’s children Diane Graese, Sally Daugherty, Susan Alfirevic and Larry Graese have designated support for the library over the years through their participation in the Clifford and LaVonne Graese Foundation.

We are so grateful for the support of all of the members of the Graese Family. We will miss LaVonne dearly. However, like her husband before her, LaVonne’s legacy will be felt by thousands who benefit every day by access to the information that LaVonne, Clifford and their children have made possible at Orlando Health.